Truck driver shortage – what are the causes, the solutions and the future of the trucking industry? In what way the trucking industry can face with truck driver shortage?
First and foremost, the reasons behind truck driver shortage are numerous. Yet, one of the most crucial factors that have caused truck driver shortage is the high average age of the existing workforce-truck drivers.
Hence, the trucking industry nowadays consists of truck drivers whose average age is 49.
But why carriers nowadays are struggling to find enough qualified truckers?
In the light of that, I will reveal you the real situation- many trucking companies nowadays are highly selective when hiring truck drivers. That is because of the fact that they have built their trucking company with professionalism and because of their high priorities.
After all, the effects of truck driver shortage can be as well felt throughout the overall U.S. economy.
Let me clarify these facts – even the American Transportation Research Institute has revealed that driver pay has become the largest operational cost in the trucking industry.
By and large, let’s see what this article has to reveal you about truck driver shortage – cause, solution & future!
1. Causes of Truck Driver Shortage
As I mentioned in the intro, many trucking companies nowadays have posed strict hiring criteria.
The criteria that trucking companies are posing are closely interconnected with:
- Driving history;
- Driving experience;
- Many other factors;
Thereupon, it is crystal clear that truck driver shortage has become much worse for motor carriers. All because of quality versus quantity issues.
Tip: Never mistake the terms- truck driver turnover with the truck driver shortage. It is not the same.
Forthwith, truck driver turnover is happening on increased rates when truckers are in high demand. That is so because truckers know that they are in the situation to change companies easily.
So, truck driver turnover is completely different from truck drivers shortage- it is being calculated with a completely different method.
Nevertheless, here are the key factors that have caused truck driver shortage:
Truckers are getting older, which is becoming a big issue for the trucking industry.
For example, workers from other industries are aging too and are retiring, but those industries have never faced such shortage of workers as the trucking industry is facing nowadays. The overall situation with the trucking industry is a lot different than other industries.
But, why is that so?
Well, it is so mainly because the trucking industry is constantly growing, but there are no new truck drivers joining in.
The demographics are showing us that the median age of truck drivers who are part of the U.S. trucking industry is 49. The trucking industry is also indicating a higher median age.
In the meantime, the current age requirements for rookie truck drivers is 21.
So, at this instant, we can see that the age is the number one cause of truck driver shortage.
On the other hand, we have the female truck drivers.
Female truck drivers make just 6% of all truck drivers in the U.S. trucking industry.
This percentage is so low because women were not that welcome to join the trucking industry.
Although trucking companies were well aware that they can make a difference, especially these days when the trucking industry is facing truck driver shortage.
All stereotypes that female truck drivers are facing with is due to the fact that male truck drivers and some trucking company owners think that female truck drivers cannot face easily the balancing between family and trucking job.
Moreover, many people consider that the trucking industry is a field where only males can work. But, luckily these stereotypes have started changing slightly.
Then we can see that the gender demographics play a crucial role in truck driver shortage as well.
Available Job Alternatives
Nowadays the trucking industry has a lot of job alternatives.
But, it is not enough for a lot of people who have entered in the trucking industry and for a short period of time has quitted trucking.
There might be a lot of reasons behind the decisions that those people have made.
It might be due to the complexity of the lifestyle that truckers are leading, or it might be due to low salaries.
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So, many people have left the trucking industry because they have found other job alternatives that require much less responsibility and regulatory guidelines as well than trucking brings.
The lifestyle that truck drivers are leading is not easy at all.
In fact, many rookie truck drivers who have left the trucking industry have revealed that they have done so because of the assigned routes that have placed them to be on the road for long periods of time.
Then inability of truckers to be away from their loved ones, and the inability to participate in the daily life and family decision, is what stops many truckers from continuing to be part of the trucking industry. Later on, that is causing truck driver shortage.
Although truck drivers nowadays get to enjoy the benefits of driving new trucks equipped with the latest technology gadgets and tools, it turns out that it is not enough. Simply, some people cannot adopt the lifestyle that truck driving brings.
The productivity of trucking companies lately has been reduced due to changes in rules and regulations.
These days’ truck drivers are facing with a way stricter rules and regulations that come from the Department of Transportation DOT, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration FMCSA, and many other regulatory bodies. Each truck drivers need to follow these rules in order to perform the transportation process in the safest possible way.
Thereupon, as you can see the regulations have played their role in truck driver shortage.
2. Solution For Truck Driver Shortage
In general, truck drivers are quitting their driving careers and are leaving the trucking industry due to so many reasons. One of the very first reasons why truck drivers started leaving the trucking industry was due to low salaries.